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COURTS   OF   PARIS,    NAPLES,   ETC.                l8g

thousand more prisoners on that account. The
French want four thousand; I offered to split
the difference, and informed Sir S. of the plan.
He wrote to entreat I would give the four
thousand at once, and he would pledge himself
to retake them all in a week after he could get
out to seal

February z6th, 1797.

At last I have received your solution of the
Justinian riddle, which I should never have
guessed. The task you impose upon me is a
very difficult one indeed. I almost despair. I
do not think it will be possible to extract one
brass farthing, and I know of no means of
attack with any prospect of success.1 But I may
be mistaken.

The account of your illness, though all danger
was past when the letter came, distressed me so
much that, except the business absolutely required
by my official duties, I have not been able to

i The ex-Bishop de Coutances, being in great poverty
in England, wished his sister to be applied to to send him
money.